Kenner Lawrence Estes III, 63, of Verona, Mo., passed from this life on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010 at his home following a courageous battle with cancer. Ken was a loving husband, father and Pop-Pop. He was devoted to his family and raised them with love, compassion and a sense of humor that will be dearly missed. 

Ken was born on April 28, 1947 in Conway, the son of K.L. Estes and Marie C. (Cardin) Estes. On July 22, 1967, Ken married his high school sweetheart, Marianne Loyd, in Conway. They were blessed with two children, Sarah Beth and Kenner Lawrence IV.

Ken was a man with an inquisitive mind and an entrepreneurial spirit. He was a student of Conway public school and Kemper Military School in Booneville, Mo., graduating from Kemper in 1965 and going on to receive a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hendrix College. He attended the University of Arkansas School of Pharmacy and become a pharmaceutical sales representative in the region. Residents of Monett will remember Ken as the owner of Western Auto Supply Company — one of his many small business ventures.

Ken will be remembered for both his integrity and the strength of his convictions. Because of his commitment to serving his country and protecting its citizens, he served in the United States Army Reserve until his honorable discharge in 1975. Ken was a gun enthusiast — a hobby that he passed on to his children and grandchildren — as well as a passionate advocate for citizens’ rights to bear arms to protect themselves and their families.

Ken had a curiosity of spirit and an open mind that inspired him to live life to its fullest. He was an avid nature photographer and a legendary pancake chef. Later in his life, Ken fully embraced his longtime love of motorcycles and could often be seen flying along the open roads of Southwest Missouri. 

Ken had the courage to follow his dreams. At the age of 47, he felt a calling to service, ultimately leaving his career to enroll in St. John’s School of Nursing. Until his retirement in 2008, Ken worked as a registered nurse in hospital settings and then with a transplant organization. He traveled throughout Southwest Missouri, meeting and comforting families who lost their loved ones while helping to save the lives of others.

Above all else, Ken was a man of deep faith, serving as a member, Sunday school teacher, elder and deacon of the First Presbyterian Church in Monett. He took pleasure in welcoming visitors to church and singing joyfully. He loved Southern gospel music, especially singing in the car with Marianne. As his family and friends will attest, through life’s greatest joys and its greatest sorrows, Ken was a faithful witness who found strength in God to the very end. 

Ken is survived by his wife Marianne; daughter Sarah Beth Estes and son-in-law Trenton Lee Stewart of Little Rock; son Kenner Estes and daughter-in-law Agnes Estes of Chicago, Ill.; grandsons Elliot and Fletcher Stewart-Estes; and sisters Betty Jane Canerday of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Jeanne Baxter of Denver, Colo. Ken was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Patricia Morris. 

Memorial services for Ken Estes will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Monett, Mo., at 6 p.m. Tuesday, officiated by the Rev. Walt Hamer. Visitation will follow the service. Arrangements have been entrusted to Buchanan Funeral Home of Monett. 

Memorial gifts may be made to The First Presbyterian Church of Monett or Hospice Compassus.